Plan for cleaner energy blasted 

A city plan to provide cleaner energy to residents and businesses was blasted Wednesday by business advocacy groups, who said the program couldn’t guarantee competitive rates.

CleanPowerSF is meant to inject competition in San Francisco’s energy market and to provide cleaner power than what’s currently provided by PG&E. State law allows cities to establish such a program.

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee approved legislation Wednesday that would move The City closer to implementing the program by submitting plans to the California Public Utilities Commission. The program would only go into place if the board approves a contract with the energy provider. All energy customers would buy power from the new entity unless they opt to remain with PG&E, under the state law requirement.

Both the Committee on Jobs and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce blasted the proposal, and said the legislation should not be adopted until the board knows the economic impact of the program. That won’t be revealed until the energy rates are set through negotiations.

Chris Wright, executive director of the Committee on Jobs, said, “It seems unfair that customers will, through no action on their part, automatically become part of this system that can’t guarantee competitive rates.”

Rob Black, public policy director for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said CleanPowerSF “is fraught with risk for San Francisco’s customers.”

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, a strong advocate of the program, said he was “taken aback” by the comments from the business advocates.

“I’ve never seen them really represent the ratepayers in San Francisco when PG&E is asking for a rate hike,” he said.

The full board is expected to vote on the legislation Tuesday.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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